The new Radiohead album The King of Limbs is out. Direct to fan only. With only a few days notice the pre-order went live!

For this release, Radiohead ditched the “pay what you want” model. Digital offers include compressed MP3 format for $9, or higher quality WAV files for $14. Get either digital formats with the pre-order of the high end physical newspaper edition. Fans were delighted when it was even delivered direct a day early! A nice touch.

But does it feel like something is missing?

There was certainly discussion. In recent years Radiohead has drawn more attention for their delivery of music and business model than their music. On this release, the public at large, and the fans, seem not quite sure quite what to make of it all.

But the debate seems to be about who this album is for. Structurally, whats the “meta” statement here? and is king of limbs “the album”? or the leak before the “real” album. The project or the marketing..

Musically, The King of Limbs is more on the obscure side, less song structure, more howling. That side of Radiohead, combined with a quiet, free of hype release cycle, made “Kings of Limbs” feel like a let down…. or a teaser!

Part of me was looking for that context.

How does the method of release, the channels used, the art and buzz surrounding a release, all effect the perception of music itself? It does for for me somehow, I know it does or others. The music purist can examine from a critical point of view, but for the rest, it is all tied to culture in some way.

How does the promotion and investment and fandom drive some ‘perceptual difference in the music?

The retail channel used to give us some of these cues. Itunes only ep releases, direct live downloads from the artist site, home made cd’s sold direct at show. You knew when a release was for the fans, not the ones who just came for radio, but for those who lived a little deeper. But when Radiohead is now all d2c, it creates an incredible new dynamic, one where mysteriously, it seems hard to tell whats what.

The King of Limbs. This isn’t music that’s asking for a ton of attention. It almost feels like the lead-up to a “bigger” release


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